The American Hardwood Export Council is optimistic toward the Chinese market and committed to discovering more demand for sustainable products despite the headwinds resulting from trade tensions between the two countries.
As the largest export destination for U.S. hardwood, China remains a crucial market for the U.S. hardwood industry and the industry is committed to working with the China market, said Michael Snow, the council's executive director.
"American hardwood exports to China face many challenges, including tariffs, extreme weather and a general slowing of demand, but China remains the largest export market for American hardwood," said Snow.
"We will continue to put more effort into collaboration and promotion in the China market, discover more market needs, fully utilize the low-carbon, sustainable and environmentally friendly characteristics of American hardwood and promote American hardwood application in more fields," Snow added.
Despite the trade dispute, during the past 28 years in the Chinese market, the AHEC said Chinese consumers' awareness of high-quality sustainable materials has grown.
"We welcome a higher consumer awareness in China as well as the rest of the world," said American Hardwood Export Council Chairman Scott Seyler.
He added that as wood proved to be better in terms of environmental impact than other materials, the council was glad to see the positive trend in China.
The trade friction between the two countries has led to a yearly decline in the export volume of U.S. hardwood lumber from January to April.
"American hardwood lumber exports totaled $484 million in China from January to April, a decline from the previous year. Looking forward to the second half of this year and toward the future, we hope that market conditions will recover as soon as possible," he said.
According to the council's report, the market value for the U.S. hardwood lumber exports has fallen from $2.1 billion in 2017 to $1.9 billion in 2018.
"We recognize that the longer this goes on, there will be long-term damage on both sides. We have already seen some of the member companies of AHEC stop operating because they have lost the Chinese market," he added.
"Since 2007, U.S. companies'investment in China has yielded growing profits. While China had a trade surplus, the benefits U.S. companies gained from their China operations were also profound," said Huang Qunhui, an industrial economics researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"The current global industrial chain was formed under the leadership of U.S.-based multinational companies, so a trade war will only result in losses for U.S. companies."